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F. W. Woolworth & Co Ltd
was, until the end of 2003, the leading chain of upmarket department stores on the island of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...
with branches in all the major cities. The Cyprus company had its roots in the American parent F. W. Woolworth Company
The F. W. Woolworth Company was a retail company that was one of the original American five-and-dime stores. The first successful Woolworth store was opened on July 18, 1879 by Frank Winfield Woolworth in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as "Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store"...
in the 1950s, which used its British arm
Woolworths Group plc was a listed British company that owned the high-street retail chain, Woolworths, as well as other brands such as the entertainment distributor Entertainment UK and book and resource distributor Bertram Books...
to spread Woolworths stores throughout the British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...
Initially there was only one Woolworths in Cyprus, in the capital city Nicosia, but in 1985 the company was sold to the local businessman Nicolas Shacolas (now OBE) who rapidly opened new stores in the island's other cities. These were far more upmarket than the original British Woolworths, and sold a range of designer adult clothing, perfumes and other luxury goods, as well as running food supermarkets in the stores.
At the end of 2003 the Shacolas Group reorganised the Woolworths company by splitting it in two, effectively severing the vestigial ties it had with the British company. The running of the department stores passed to a company called Ermes Department Stores Public Limited, and after an initial rebranding of the stores as Ermes, they were renamed a year later Debenhams
Debenhams plc is a British retailer operating under a department store format in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, and franchise stores in other countries. The Company was founded in the eighteenth century as a single store in London and has now grown to around 160 shops...
. The ownership of the land and property, as well as responsibility for developing new commercial sites, remained with F. W. Woolworth & Co (Cyprus) Ltd, which was renamed Woolworths (Cyprus) Properties Public Limited
in 2005. This is the only part of the Shacolas Group to retain the Woolworths name. Woolworths (Cyprus) Properties Public Limited is now one of the leading developers of commercial shopping centres in Cyprus, with increasing interests elsewhere in southern Europe and the Middle East.